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On Feb. 16, the Biden Administration recently announced the extension of COVID-19 forbearance and foreclosure protections for homeowners. According to a statement they released, one in five renters are behind on rent today and over 10 million homeowners are behind on mortgage payments, with people of color facing even greater hardship.

The move is part of a coordinated extension and expansion of existing forbearance and foreclosure relief programs at the following organizations: the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Veteran Affairs and the Department of Agriculture.

“As President Biden has made clear, it is urgent that we help homeowners throughout the nation who are struggling financially from this unprecedented national emergency,” said Acting HUD Secretary Matthew Ammon. “The steps we are taking today will provide both immediate relief to those in desperate need of assistance and help more homeowners keep their homes and resume their payments when the pandemic subsides.”

These protections were set to expire in March. The new actions will:

– Extend the foreclosure moratorium for homeowners through June 30, 2021

– Extend the mortgage payment forbearance enrollment window until June 30, 2021 for borrowers who wish to request forbearance

– Provide up to six months of additional mortgage payment forbearance, in three-month increments, for borrowers who entered forbearance on or before June 30, 2020.

According to the statement, the recent moves strive to provide immediate relief to American homeowners, support hard-hit communities of color and provide a centralized resource for housing assistance.

“President Biden is committed to protecting homeownership and housing stability as America begins to turn a painful crisis into a robust recovery,” said the statement. “Today’s [at press time] extended forbearance and foreclosure programs are an important step toward building stronger and more equitable communities.”

The Federal Housing Finance Agency announced last week that it would be extending its forbearance by three months. Due to these coordinated actions, about 70% of existing single-family home mortgages are covered under COVID-19 protections.

“Extending the forbearance available on federally-backed mortgages is a critically important move to preserve homeownership for millions of households that have seen income disruption or outright job loss due to the pandemic,” said Greg McBride, Bankrate.com chief financial analyst, in a statement. “These actions to extend forbearance and foreclosure moratoriums benefit renters whose landlords are getting relief on their federally-backed mortgages from these provisions.”

Liz Dominguez is RISMedia’s senior online editor. Please email her your real estate news ideas to lizd@rismedia.com.

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